I suddenly wanted to have a few days beside the sea, walking the coastal path over the cliffs, hearing the splash of the waves on the rocks below. Yes, I admit it, watching Poldark raised all my memories of holidays spent near Land’s End. So we booked four days to go to a less dramatic but somewhat closer section of coastline to hear waves crashing and smell the sea. When I got home I wrote an appreciation in my journal.
I love the red and white cliffs, I love the sound of the pebbles rattling as the waves go out, I love the warm sandy beaches, I love sitting on the sea wall, watching people, boats, gulls, I love the woman who dips her knotted rope into detergent to make hundreds of bubbles, I love the sunlight glinting on the waves, I love the changing sky with its heavy, sculptural clouds, I love the bright blue patches of sky, I love the warmth of the sun as it comes through, I love the full and complete rainbow over the sea when it rains.
When I got home I wrote an appreciation in my journal (appreciation is stronger than gratitude).
Taking it slowly
Appreciation and gratitude are very similar and some people use them interchangeably. They both express satisfaction for the day to day good things that happen in life. The difference is that gratitude is rooted in the past, giving thanks for what has improved or what you hope will improve. Gratitude makes you look at the world in comparison to your wants and needs. Appreciation is less concerned with the self and is closer to pure joy; it gets you to look at what is, feel good about it and say “Wow”.
If gratitude feels closer to your current thoughts and feelings, then stay with it. But try to avoid the bored mumble of some tired old phrase that you’ve already repeated numerous times. Keep it fresh by finding new ways of saying it. However, if you feel sad while working with gratitude, it’s probably because you’re getting attached to outcomes, and your feeling is, “It hasn’t happened yet”. In that case, do something different.
Working with either gratitude or appreciation, you can make lists of all the wonderful things that happen to you every day. These can be big things like getting a new job, or small things like hearing a bird sing. Knowing you’ll be writing your list every evening will make you more observant during the day and makes you feel good if you read them to yourself at bedtime.